|Figure 2: Characterizing blackened Genyornis eggshell.|
Even without all the industrial and technological growth that has accelerated climate change, humans can — and do — dramatically impact ecosystems.
A new paper in Nature Communications, co-authored by UC Merced Professor Marilyn Fogel, indicates early humans were responsible for the fairly rapid extinction of the 10-foot-tall flightless bird Genyornis newtoni in Australia about 47,000 years ago, simply through hunting and the interruption of reproduction.
In “Human Predation Contributed to the Extinction of the Australian Megafaunal Bird Genyornis newtoni,” Fogel and her colleagues — who have spent the past 20 years gathering a variety of data about the effects of humans on continental ecosystem changes — demonstrate that early aboriginal people hunted and ate Genyornis. Perhaps more importantly, they gathered and cooked the birds’ eggs in a methodical and species-ending way. [...] UC Merced / Link 2